Chromapollination — an interactive light installation at Vivid Sydney, 2012

Preface: This article is adapted from an original article, co-written with M. Hank Haeusler, and published in mondo*arc April/May 2016 — Issue 90. The article was part of a series of publications in the lead-up to the Media Architecture Biennale 2016, which I chaired together with M. Hank Haeusler.

Interested in contributing to or having your work featured in this year’s Media Architecture Biennale, which takes place in Amsterdam and online June 28th to July 2nd? Several calls are still open, including a call for the Media Architecture Awards (closes on 29 March). For more details visit: mab20.org

Every day…


The original, pre-Covid website for the OzCHI conference

Some thoughts on how Covid-19 changed our vision for the 32nd Australian conference on computer-human interaction.

It’s been on my mind for many years—bringing the Australian conference for computer-human interaction (OzCHI) to Sydney. The last time it was held in Sydney was 2014. To my knowledge it had never been hosted by the University of Sydney.

About 1.5 years ago, I finally felt that we had the right momentum to work towards hosting the 2020 edition of the conference. …


11 months ago, in a world before the pandemic, I was lucky to attend a 3-day entrepreneurship academy at UC Davis in California. Here is the most important lesson I took away for the design of new products and businesses.

I am editing this story sitting at my recently set-up home office desk. A rainy winter’s day in Sydney. Another summer in California and it is not clear what the new term at Stanford University will bring for students and staff this year. Like other U.S. universities, Stanford is working on contingency plans as COVID-19 cases surge.

The pandemic has brought uncertainty of unpredecented scale to all of our lives. Indeed, we are likely experiencing the most uncertain times of our generation’s lifetime.

Revisiting the draft I had written on that late summer’s day at Stanford, it seems that the…


Co-written by Martin Tomitsch and Leigh-Anne Hepburn

Like other design educators around the world, we had to very quickly transition all our units to an online mode in an effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Most of our courses in the University of Sydney’s Design Discipline involve human-centred design aspects, which are challenging to replicate in a world where we are forced to avoid contact with others. …


In most universities, enrolling in a postgraduate research program is very different to enrolling in a coursework degree. The first and most important step is to find a supervisor. Here is some advice on how to do this via email.

Source: Flickr

There are many ways to identify a supervisor for your PhD research. Chances are that you might need to or want to look beyond your local home university, in which case your first point of contact will likely be via email. Like many academics, I frequently receive emails from students seeking a position as a PhD candidate in our university. Sometimes, multiple emails per day.

Let me start with an apology to those who have contacted me and never received a reply. I would really like to be able to respond to each and every enquiry. Choosing to complete a…


Image source: Pexels

It’s the starting point of every design process: The development of ideas, also referred to as ideation.

First lesson: “Keep calm and trust the process.” This is important because stress kills creative thinking. But before we look into the steps that make up the process, let’s take a look at why we even need to care.

The problem with linear thinking

Giving space to the creation of ideas is critical for guiding the development of an interface. Without guidance, the design is set up to fail. We might end up building something that doesn’t address a need, or that addresses the wrong needs for the…


The new MacBook Pro model with Touch Bar. Source: Apple

Apple’s MacBook Pro series has been back in the media thanks to the new “Touch Bar” feature.

Announced on 27 October, the Touch Bar uses retina display and multitouch technology to replace the MacBook Pro’s top row of static function keys.

It might seem like a simple idea, but it builds on a long history of research on what is referred to as “human–computer interaction”.

The feature deserves the attention it’s receiving as it provides a glimpse into how we will be interacting with computers in the not so distant future.

It’s not a new idea (a less shiny version…

Martin Tomitsch

Head of Design at the University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning — UX, interaction design, design thinking, tech, cities.

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